The Ti2 TechLiner is the most recent addition to the pen world by Mike Bond of Ti2 Design and was a hit on Kickstarter earlier this year. Mike was kind enough to send me one of the early prototypes of the TechLiner to review which I really enjoyed. Something new, unique, and something that took a lot of people by surprise.
In some correspondence recently with Mike, he was kind enough to offer to send me one of the coveted Blackwash edition TechLiners to check out; how could I refuse? The Blackwash was one of the "upgrade" editions during the Kickstarter campaign and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it to put to work and review. Thanks again for sending it my way, Mike.
The original finish on the TechLiner is what is considered "tumbled". It is bead blasted titanium which is then tumbled and provides a really uniform and durable surface that will hold up to a lot of beating. It looks awesome, very industrial, and fits right in with any EDC.
Now, the Blackwash finish takes awesome to a new level I think. It is PVD (physical vapor deposition) coated in black and then tumbled to a matte finish. This finish strapped to a unique titanium pen like Mike's makes for a seriously cool experience. I dig it.
For a bit of TechLiner 101, the overall "body" of the pen is made of only three parts: the main barrel, the tip(s), and the cap. The tip and tail are a sort of rounded off cylinder which have been machined with a grid of lines to create a rectangular grip pattern. Pretty sweet. The grooves are deep and just sharp enough on the edges to provide a slip free grip.
The cap is held in place on both ends by internal magnets which is probably one of the pen's most kick butt features. The magnets are strong, but not too much. It is easy enough to pull the cap off, but once on there I have no fear of it falling off and being lost.
The tip of the pen is very unique as the refill sticks out of the barrel to a sharp, needle-like point and is held in place by one of the internal magnets. This aesthetic might take some getting used to for many people as we are so conditioned to see ballpoint and rollerball type pens only stick out slightly as a little cone. Not with this one... You might think it would impair the writing experience, but it doesn't in the least. The TechLiner is built around the popular Uni-ball Signo 207 refill which means you can get it fairly easily in a range of sizes from 0.38mm all the way up to 1.0mm.
With the Blackwash finish being tumbled, the grip section wears a bit more on the edges of the rectangles which creates a bit of a broken in look. One thing I noticed about the production model in comparison to the prototype is that the grip was machined to be a bit more defined. I think this is a good choice as it gives it more of a distinct look and actually increases the grip's functionality.
Before receiving the TechLiner from Mike I had a bit of experience with another "blackwash" product. My current carry pocket knife is the Leek by Kershaw which is fantastic. The blackwash finish is what attracted me to get it and I couldn't be happier with the look, feel, and durability the finish has shown. I was stoked to see this finish on a pen and it lives up to the expectations nicely.
Another point that is definitely noteworthy in the post is regarding the clip. First things first, the clip is an optional add-on part which runs another $12, but is probably a sound investment if you're looking into getting the pen. Without the clip, the TechLiner could slip into a notebook pen sleeve or possibly a pocket (although is a fairly long pen). The additional clip is a tank and is not a chintzy piece of hardware.
I strongly recommend the TechLiner. It is unlike anything in the market, is made from killer materials, looks cool, the quality is heavy duty, and the finish...well, lets just say it rocks.